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8 Bells... Paul A. Huntsman, Jr. (Sandy)

Laura Jeffers | Published on 12/1/2020

Sandy Huntsman

Paul A. Huntsman, Jr. (Sandy)
March 28, 1932 – November 26, 2020


Our father, Paul A. Huntsman, Jr. (Sandy) passed on November 26th, 2020 at his place of residence, the Atrium at Navesink Harbor in Red Bank, NJ. After several years of mental and physical decline, he has found peace and will join his beloved wife Mary. He has lived his life to the fullest achieving many accomplishments and living with zest and humor.


Sandy grew up and lived his life on the waters of the Navesink and Shrewsbury Rivers. He began sailing as a teen; racing and pleasure sailing with his buddies and getting into the occasional shenanigans. Sailing was his passion, and he shared his time with and for those who shared that passion. He also introduced many a curious and interested person or family to the sport and the enjoyment of sailing, including his children and grandchildren. Sailboat racing is always followed by a cold beer and stories and tall tales to laugh or grumble over, depending on your results for the day.


Sandy attended Rumson Country Day for his early education, and then he and his brother Jack boarded at the Hill School in Pennsylvania for his high school years. He began college Duke University but decided that he was not ready to continue his formal education, so he joined the Navy and served for three years. After his discharge he realized that he was ready to get serious and focus on continuing his education.  He enrolled and studied at Monmouth College where he earned his BS degree. He was a member of the first four-year graduating class.


During that period, he and his brother hosted a big college party at his parent’s home in Rumson, where he met Mary Wickman. She and her roommate traveled down to Rumson from Skidmore College to attend one of these renowned parties. This meeting was destiny. Mary, with her fun spirit and high energy, had him hooked. They were married after her graduation less than a year later and they set up an apartment in Red Bank, NJ. Not long after that their daughter Karin was born. Then a move to a new house in Little Silver, where they lived for the next 16 years. Jack was born a few years after the move and their family was complete. They began hosting their legendary parties for holidays, celebrations, and just-because get-togethers for friends and family. The Christmas Eve parties were a yearly gathering of all their friends and family with many children in tow. All were excited to enjoy the food and drink, music and holiday fun; and for the kids to see Santa! Who was a different dad dressed up as Santa each year.

Sandy worked at the Ray Van Horn Agency in Fair Haven selling insurance for several years after graduation, but that did not inspire him. He also owned and operated Navesink Laminating Company in Atlantic Highlands with friend and partner Bob Howie. Sandy and Bob built the first fiberglass Jersey Speed Skiff, a very popular racing motorboat of the day. Sandy started substitute teaching and assistant coaching at Mater Dei HS in Middletown. There he discovered his love for teaching and working with the students. With that in mind, he set a goal to get his Master’s in Education and returned to Monmouth and worked on his degree at night. After graduation he was hired to teach 7th and 8th grade language arts at the Union Avenue School in Hazlet, N.J. He loved his “work” and was very dedicated to his students. He was a very well-liked and respected teacher. His discipline, yet sense of humor and interesting lessons made his classroom a great learning environment and fast became a well-liked and respected teacher. He took pride in giving each and every essay and paper his review and comment, hoping to inspire thought and good writing and use of the English language. That was his calling and he taught there until he retired from teaching in his late 50s.


In 1974 Sandy and Mary moved to the great white house on the river in Rumson. This was to become the center of many wonderful get togethers for dinner, holidays, celebrations, graduations, weddings, and… more parties! Many college friends of Karin’s or Jack’s found a summer home on the third floor of this house. Friends who needed time to collect and gather themselves for a reboot were welcome to stay. Our home was always open; a seat at the dinner table at a moment's notice, a bed to sleep in when needed, a great meal and a glass of wine ready to be shared. Sandy sat at the head of the table and told stories and jokes; but listened intently to the stories and tales of travel and life from his guests. Mom prepared awesome meals and lots of silliness. On the occasion of Sandy and Mary’s 25th wedding anniversary, their good friends created the Huntsman Yacht Club, complete with burgee and mission statement, as a tribute to Mary and Sandy’s awesome parties and gatherings. They had a wonderful knack for bringing people together.


When they were ready to downsize they moved on to a beautiful condo in Red Bank at the head of the river where, you guessed it, more open house festivities.


Sandy’s greatest pleasure was his sailing and camaraderie at Monmouth Boat Club. In 1960, Sandy and Mary, along with Arnold Schwartz and Reid Dickerson, conceived and ran the first Long John Regatta. As the organizers intended, this regatta is always scheduled the third weekend in April as the first regatta of the season. The name was created to reflect the spring temperatures. Sailing wasn’t limited to Spring through Fall. Several of these sailing diehards also conceived the “Twin River Frostbite Series”. Despite frigid temperatures, they raced small dinghies called “turnabouts”, and took turns racing on small courses in front of the club. As long as there wasn’t much wind and there wasn’t any ice, they could be seen out there, or warming up in the clubhouse. This became very popular and is still running today. During his active sailing years he held virtually every office on the board and served as commodore 1973 through 1974. There were numerous projects to renovate, repair, and improve the Monmouth Boat Club building and property, in which he always participated and often led the project. (MBC is named as a historical site.)


Sandy was an accomplished sailboat racer, participating in dozens of National, North American and World Championships. He served as Lightning Class President in 1983, and Mary served as the same in 2000 and 2001. They are the only husband and wife to both hold the position in the 80-year history of the Lightning Class. In the late 90s, they raised the funds to purchase Lightning number 1 and donated it to the Mystic Seaport Maritime Museum. The boat is currently on loan to the Skaneateles Historical Society in Skaneateles, NY the birthplace of the Lightning. Sandy and Mary traveled the U.S. and abroad to participate in and run major regattas. Sandy was an USYRU Senior Judge, which is an accomplishment that he earned and was very proud of. He held this title for 30 years.


Sandy and Mary also purchased Olsen Boat Works in Middletown with Rob Held and Ron Freund in the early 70’s and renamed it Twin Rivers Marine. There Sandy used his fiberglass experience and skills to repair sailboats. They also rigged new boats, sold equipment, fittings and gear, Sailors from the area made many trips to outfit or have their boats fixed by Sandy and Mary. They were there even in a pinch!


Sandy took up skiing later in life and he and Mary bought a house near Sugarbush, Vermont. There they worked at the resort as “hosts” to assist skiers in the meeting areas and on the mountain. They loved to meet people and enjoy the activity. They made many great friends in the valley. And, of course they hosted fun winter getaways and parties there as well. The midwinter sailing “meeting” was an annual event. Ski and talk sailing. They always shared what they had so others could enjoy life with them. After Mary died, Sandy continued to sail for a few years and still judged, but as time went by he slowed down but still shared his condo at the head of the river for family get togethers and an annual party with front row seats for the Fourth of July fireworks on the Navesink. 


Sandy, the avid sailor, story and joke teller, dedicated teacher, wine connoisseur, lover of good a good meal (porterhouse steak a staple) with friends and family; and so much more! We are saddened by the end of an era. We are so grateful for the upbringing that we had because of both of our parents; a life filled with excitement, energy, opportunity, and support.  His strong hand and discipline taught us respect, commitment, accountability, and to share what we have to bring people together. They were all about people. We are relieved that he has passed after these years of struggle and is finally resting comfortably and at peace.  We know that he will be sailing away in his Lightning; the tiller in one hand and a glass of Cabernet in the other, with his beloved wife of 47 years, Mary on the rail beside him; and she with her glass of Chardonnay, and her camera hung from her neck. They are off to rock the next party… wherever the winds may take them.


Sandy is predeceased by his wife, Mary who passed December of 2003, and his brother John F. Huntsman (Jack). He is survived by his two children: daughter Karin Wing and her husband Scott; and son, Jack and his wife Pamela. Grandchildren: Robert Ruffus, John Huntsman Jr, Caitlyn Pibal, Blake Huntsman, and Marshall Huntsman; and five great-grandchildren.


Donations in Sandy’s name are welcome to the following charity of your choice.


The Mary Huntsman History Fund:
Donate to Huntsman History Fund


Lueukemia & Lymphoma Society:


Alzheimer’s Society

8th Annual Long John Regatta 55 Boats

Mary Huntsman
Sandy Huntsman Early Officer Photo

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